Serving Children By Serving Food: TLC’s Summer Food Program completes another successful year

Published 6:46 pm Friday, August 4, 2017

Another year is in the books for the TLC Community Center’s annual Summer Food Program.

Over the course of 10 weeks this summer, the Center and its team of dedicated volunteers delivered a total of 75,016 meals to children in Elizabethton and Carter County, as well as partnering with a group in Bristol that served food to children at two sites there.

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As part of the program, the children receive a hot dinner meal for that day as well as a bagged breakfast and lunch for the following day.

“We wouldn’t be able to do this without our volunteers or the donations from churches, businesses, and people in the community,” TLC Community Center Director Angie Odom said. “Our volunteers come day after day to help us when they could be out doing other things enjoying their summer.”

Several churches make sandwiches that are included in the children’s lunches. Others bring youth groups to help prepare, package and deliver the food. Some volunteers spend hours working in the Center’s garden so that the children in the program will have fresh vegetables to eat.

Over the course of the program, hundreds of volunteers take part, Odom said.

“Some come for only a day while others come every day, but all of them make a difference in the lives of the children we serve,” Odom said.

This year marked the 15th year for the program. Over the years, the program has gone from serving less than 100 children per day to averaging 425 kids fed each day.

Odom launched the Summer Food Program after seeing a need in the community through her work with the school system.

“A significant portion of the children in our community qualify for the free or reduced meal program through the school system,” Odom said. “During the school year, they receive most of their meals at school, but when the kids are out of school their families often struggle to replace these lost meals.”

“It is our goal to help fight childhood hunger in our community through this program,” she added.

For more information on the TLC Community Center or its programs, call them at 423-543-4673 or check out their Facebook Page.